The Sweet Life Gardener    Garlic March 2023

Hey my Sweet Lifers! I don’t think there’s anyone except my great Aunt Melda Lee that doesn’t like garlic. I shared a recipe with her years ago for my collards and I had barely gotten garlic out of my mouth as one of the ingredients when she twisted up her face and grimaced! I know many people steer clear of using garlic for fear of smelling like it but the benefits of this herb far outweigh the occasional “perfume” left in it’s aftermath. 

Garlic was believed to have first appeared in central Asia and then spread world wide. It has been cultivated since antiquity and can no longer be found as a wild species. Today the heirloom varieties are all the rage and the levels of intensity are anywhere from mild to very pungent. Garlic is part of the lily family along with onions, leeks, shallots and chives. 

Medicinally, garlic is one of those herbs that every garden needs and medicine cabinet should have. It was used during the bubonic plague and during World War I, as a poultice that saved many soldiers lives. It has an antibiotic effect as well as the ability to stimulate the immune system. For this reason it is excellent in both treating infections as well as boosting our bodies. The components of garlic are volatile oils, selenium, scordinin, vitamins A,B,C, E and allicin. When taken regularly it acts as an anti diabetic, anti inflammatory, expectorant, blood pressure regulator and fever breaker. Because of these responses garlic is used to treat high blood pressure, assist in Type 2 Diabetes, to clear infections particularly of the ear, nose throat and lung and fungal skin issues. The herb also beaks down clots and adds protection for and additionally assistance in the treatment fo cancers of the stomach and colon. It packs a big punch! 

Culinarily speaking, well… I can not imagine cooking without it. Garlic added to just about everything just makes it so much better! From eggs for breakfast to toast with soup for lunch to infused aioli with fried artichoke hearts oh how it makes my tastebuds sing! To be honest I don’t think there is one main recipe that I cook without it. 

Garlic is also very easy to grow. Separate the cloves and dig a hole about 2” deep and place 5-6 inches apart. Cover with soil and water in and soon you’ll see the green stems shoot right up. It can be harvested and the cloves dried to use in cooking year round. What’s more your roses will love you for planting garlic near them. One year I had a bag of cloves that were already peeled and they had started to go bad so I tossed them out into the garden under my roses and they started blooming! Snakes hate the smell too so if you’ve got a snake slithering around a sprinkle here and there will send those guys sliding onto some one else’s yard! 

My favorite ways to utilize garlic medicinally is to make a little oil and rub on the bottom of my feet. First peel several cloves and smash them and let stand for 10-15 mins. On the stove top place a cup of olive oil and the cloves and let them steep for 30 mins. Cool and then place on the feet wrapping them twice with socks overnight. This will help break up any mucus and start the antibiotic properties of fighting infection. 

My favorite way to eat garlic is to take a giant head and slice the top off, sprinkle with a dash of salt, top with a large pat of butter and wrap in foil. Place in the oven for 30mins until soft. Squeeze the creamy cloves out of the husk and spread on toast points and add either smoked salmon or a dollop of cream fraise and caviar. DELICIOUS! 

I do hope you’ll consider adding garlic to one of your go to herbs in your garden and at the very least include it into your daily diet. Not only will you find your dishes to be tastier but your heart and immune system will thank you too! 

Keep on Growing! 

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